Learn About DTV
Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: Now that the DTV Transition is completed and all stations have changed to their final DTV channels, be sure to scan for channel changes as convenient.
Please note that the June 12, 2009 DTV transition deadline did not apply to low-power television (LPTV) stations. The FCC will determine a deadline for these stations to transition to digital at a future date. Learn more about LPTV.
Cable and Satellite
- Can Cable Companies Make it Mandatory to Subscribe?
- Is it Mandatory or Voluntary for Cable Companies to Switch to Digital?
- Do I Need a Set-Top Box with Cable?
- What Happens to My Satellite Digital Reception Quality?
- What Is the Effect of DTV on My Satellite and Local Channels?
- Did the DTV Transition Affect TV Sets That Are Connected to Cable Services?
If a cable company makes the business decision to go all-digital, it must ensure that its analog customers can continue to watch their local broadcast stations. This may require some customers to get a set-top box. Contact your cable company to ask if a set-top box will be needed, when it will be needed, and if there will be a cost. Any related costs will be determined by the cable company.
Cable companies are not required to switch to digital service, but they may choose to make their service all or partly digital – it is a business decision made by the cable companies. The FCC requires cable companies to continue to provide local stations in analog as long as they provide any analog service.
It is recommended that analog cable customers contact their cable company to ask if a set-top box is needed, when it is needed, and if there is a cost.
If you have an analog TV set, you are probably not displaying digital quality service, even though the reception may be somewhat improved.
You may receive digital programming if you subscribe to a digital or HD package from your provider and you are viewing the digital programming on a digital set.
Check with your cable or satellite TV provider to find out what kinds of programming you can receive, and what equipment you need to receive it.
The DTV Transition did not affect satellite TV subscribers who receive their local TV stations through their satellite dishes.
Satellite TV service is a digital service, and all satellite subscribers must have a set-top box connected to their TV sets to receive the satellite-delivered programming.
If you subscribe to a satellite TV service, you should check with your provider to find out if you receive a local TV station package through your satellite dish. There should be no change in service for satellite subscribers unless the local TV stations are not provided by the satellite carrier.
No. If you subscribe to cable service, the DTV transition did not affect any TV sets that are connected to your cable services. The DTV transition applied only to full-power broadcast television stations -– stations that use the public airwaves to transmit their programming to viewers through a broadcast antenna.